AGree report makes climate-change recommendations |

AGree report makes climate-change recommendations

The AGree Climate, Food and Agriculture Dialogue (CFAD) has published recommendations on climate-smart agriculture practices, calling for the work done by “early innovators” in conservation agriculture to be recognized.

The report is being released in advance of the House Agriculture Committee’s hearing Wednesday on the role of Agriculture Department programs in addressing climate change.

“As we increase investments in climate-smart agriculture, we cannot forget about the farmers and ranchers who paved the way for conservation,” said Heather Lair, a partner at Meridian Institute who leads CFAD.

“We developed these recommendations to inform policy efforts to expand adoption of climate-smart practices, ensure existing progress by early innovators is maintained, and encourage continued innovation to develop and test new practices,” Lair said.

“CFAD believes the most sustainable way to build this system is to embed incentives for the adoption and maintenance of climate-smart agricultural practices throughout agricultural markets, finance systems, regulatory processes, and insurance programs.”

CFAD outlines the following recommendations:

1. “The USDA Economic Research Service should conduct a literature review of existing research to understand the economics around producer motivations for implementing and maintaining climate-smart practices.

2. “The Federal Crop Insurance Program should recognize the risk-reducing benefits of conservation practices.

3. “Agricultural lenders should recognize the economic benefits of conservation practice adoption, including improved soil health and reduced agricultural risk, when offering loan terms to producers.

4. “USDA should continue to explore the development of climate-smart commodity markets that reward early innovators through new market mechanisms. Supporting markets that preference agricultural commodities produced using practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon would strengthen the business case for climate-smart agriculture.

5. “Ecosystem markets that allow producers to generate both carbon credits and other ecosystem services credits from the same project should be explored to create stacked incentives to expand and maintain existing conservation practices.

6. “Food and beverage companies should consider how early innovators can be included in supply chain sustainability programs to reduce scope 3 emissions

7. “USDA and Congress should systematically work to expand and improve existing conservation programs, drawing on CFAD’s recommendations for investing in working lands conservation.

8. “USDA should offer technical assistance to states that wish to create programs that give producers who adopt or have adopted climate-smart agricultural practices regulatory certainty on compliance with environmental safeguard policies (e.g., Clean Water Act requirements, Endangered Species Act).”

AGree Coalition partner Kristin Weeks Duncanson, a Minnesota farmer, will testify Wednesday morning at the House Agriculture Committee hearing on “The Role of the USDA Programs in Addressing Climate Change.”

“Over the years, I’ve used my experiences on the farm to inform my work with the AGree Coalition to find ways to make agriculture more resilient, profitable, and sustainable,” said Weeks Duncanson, co-owner of Highland Family Farms in Mapleton, Minn.

“Better information is the foundation of how I manage risks to my farm from war, pandemics, climate change, and other disruptions outside of my control. I know that to get more farmers on board with conservation, we need more and better data that is up to date, accessible, and can be analyzed to show the costs and benefits of these practices to farming operations.”


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